Three Rivers men likely to host playoff quarterfinal after win
DAILY AMERICAN REPUBLIC/Scott Borkgren
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - With Saturday's win, the Raiders will likely get one more home game this season.
Three Rivers beat State Fair 75-62 at the Libla Family Sports Complex to take the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Roadrunners.
The two schools will play one more time in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 seed game in the Region XVI Tournament.
State Fair (7-12, 2-8 Region XVI) could still overtake Three Rivers (9-10, 3-8) in the region standings but would need upset wins against MSU-West Plains and Moberly Area, as well as a Three Rivers loss at Mineral Area, to do so.
The winner of the quarterfinal will then play at Mineral Area in the semifinals. As the top seed, the Cardinals will host both semifinal games and the region championship.
"Everybody in the region, we feel we've got a pretty good idea about, and I think they know what we're going to do," Three Rivers coach Brian Bess said. "That's why offense is probably at a premium in the postseason because everybody is going to know all your stuff."
Jonathan Ninkingira and Jacob Shoemaker both came off the bench and had season-highs in scoring with 18 and 11 points, respectively, and both were on the court for the final possessions.
Ninkingira was 7 for 12 shooting and 4 for 8 on 3-pointers. He was also 3 for 4 on 3s in the first half to help boost the Raiders.
Shoemaker got his 11 points in just 8 minutes after going 3 for 4 on 3-pointers.
"Great guys that really work hard, and it was really good for everybody on our team to see it. They all enjoyed it," Bess said. "In fact, they were telling Jonathan to go get the ball at the end because they thought (State Fair) would foul again with 7 seconds (so he could get 20 points)."
Dominique Hardimon gave the Raiders a third player off the bench in double digits with 12 points after he finished 8 for 10 on free throws.
The Raiders shot 43.5% from the floor and were 9 for 29 (31%) on 3-pointers.
"I thought we could go into Amadou (Fall) and Mandell (Campbell) and use that to our advantage, and we did at times," Bess said. "They were doubling them a lot the last time, and we thought they would do it again, and they did. They kept running doubles at Amadou, and he's a good passer, so that's what we were trying to play off of."
Three Rivers scored the first four points of the second half to take a double-digit lead.
Kohen Thompson's 3 cut the lead to five points with 15 minutes left, but Shoemaker countered with a 3 at the other end.
As the clock ticked past 10 minutes, Thompson made another 3 that got State Fair within 3 points, and Ninkingira countered with a 3 at the other end.
After trading baskets for a few minutes, the Raiders were still ahead by six with 6 minutes remaining.
Kevin Jones committed the Raiders' seventh team foul while trying to force a jump ball with 3 minutes left and the Raiders up by five. In the bonus, Lavric Mangala missed off the back iron.
The Raiders burned the shot clock before Fall missed a jumper, and Keith Kiner got the putback with 2 1/2 minutes remaining.
The Roadrunners got a quick layup, but Shannon Strickland swished a 3 that put the Raiders up by eight with 2 minutes left.
After a State Fair timeout, the Roadrunners tried trapping, but Fall ended up with a dunk and followed that with a block to give Three Rivers the ball with a minute left.
Hardimon was fouled in the double bonus and made both to restore Three Rivers' double-digit lead as the crowd started filtering out.